Sunday, January 24, 2010

Edward VIII & Mrs. Simpson

There was a time we may have had an American Queen of England. Okay, not really. But wouldn't it be nice to think so?

Following the death of his father, King George V, Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David Windsor - though his friends all called him "David" - ascended the throne of England on January 20, 1936. He more famously abdicated on December 11. Though he was quite a popular man as Prince of Wales, beloved especially by the working classes, no one it seems could stand his lover, the twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson.

This did not stop some unfortunate producers from creating the worst musical I have ever seen based on the subject matter. Always debuted at the Victoria Palace Theatre in Spring, 1997 where my wife and I caught it during previews. The review in the Sunday Times included my favorite headline for the theater review ever - Wallis and Vomit.

As suggested in on the musical-orietned website Record Cabinet:
By the time Always surfaced, attitudes to the royal family were drastically changing, and were indeed to be further affected by the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, later that year. And this perhaps is the show's mistake - its 'ultimate love story' is about two apparently selfish, uninspiring and uninteresting people for whom it is impossible to feel sympathy.
Though even during intermission I scoffed at the idea of buying on the CDs they were hawking, I soon regretted that decision as I had no proof to offer any one as to what I had experienced. In the past several years I began searching on eBay - but it was my brother in London who found it first on (duh)

And oy, it's all naff.

This contemptuous attitude springs no doubt from the negative taint David left on the monarchy, though his grand-nephew Charles could show him a thing our two about rehabilitating one's reputation. However, if people think you are shallow enough to abandon monarchy for love - and spend the rest of your life living shallowly and, it must be mentioned, for example, being seen socially with Hitler ... well, maybe you were a dick in the first place. And not the proper subject for a romantic, entirely unironic musical.

For the first time ever, Time Magazine gave its Man of the Year award (1936) to a woman - Mrs. Wallis Simpson. This may have been because she had a penis.

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